Nov 10, 2011 Ken Jackson Uncategorized
It came as no surprise when a story was published about the lack of diversity on the Syracuse City School Board which controls a $350 million-plus school budget. Their reach is vast and powers great, especially when you look at the impact of policies that effect the education of children in a system that’s become black and brown with white students in the minority at 24 percent.
Everyone is pointing fingers at the root cause of this diversity debacle, an unbelievable lack of representation where the hackneyed line “get involved black people!” is the constant refrain.
However, the fact remains that the democratic party in the City of Syracuse is in control of the process that nominates candidates. Like Washington, D.C., getting the democratic party nomination is tantamount to a coronation. (A signal of a break in voting patterns would be a Hawkins “green Party” victory this past Tuesday.)
And no matter how many African-Americans attempt to participate in whatever party affiliation, the party that hosts the lion’s share of registrations in the City of Syracuse is the democratic party.
It has always been difficult for African-Americans and Hispanics to gain even a toe-hold on the mountain of power that stands before us, power that’s brokered by democrats.
As African-Americans and other “minorities” grow in population we’ve shrunk in some important visual roles that should represent progress.
It’s not just the school board — it’s our city.
Look at your television and tell me if you see any African-American males. Not one from what I can see. African-American women have fared better than men but that still leaves one Jackie Robinson as a news anchor who’s program is produced and broadcast from our local market. Time-Warner’s YNN is produced substantially out of Albany, N.Y., but has a diverse anchor lineup, unmatched locally.
And I can’t believe that we’ve gone from having two African-American owned FM stations to our current relegation to the AM dial as “sharecroppers” — now that’s progress! On television in the 1970s we had greater diversity with Dennis Dowdell on channel 3 with “News and Views Black Perspective,” Charles Anderson was on Channel 9 and for those old enough to remember, Karen Franklin was Oprah before there was an Oprah with “Open Line.” Look at local television today and we’re again absent; they’ve even taken George Kilpatrick off TV!
I’ve listened to comments of self-proclaimed “independent democrat” community activists and elected members of the African-American community point fingers and deflecting blame from their own ineptitude at having any influence as active members of the democratic party. These are people who have been at their posts for decades, they’ve gone to the events and tasted the” hors d’oeuvres “served at lavish parties.
You’ll hear more peeps out of a newborn chick than you will hear from the representative black leadership class in Syracuse, and that includes the black clergy.
In the one-act play “Day of Absence,” all the black people disappear and the play is about trying to find out where they went. But in Syracuse, “Day of Absence” is not a one-act play, it’s reality — a way of life. As the black population expands in numbers, we’re disappearing from public sight.